Why forum life is so complicated

By NMe on Sunday 15 March 2009 02:57 - Comments (20)
Category: -, Views: 23.588

I'd hate to start off my first attempt at blogging in more than four years with a rant, but I'm going to anyway. That's just the type of guy I am; I'll try to behave next time. I'd like to talk about people. People have always liked to put each other in their own little "box", separating "them" from "us". For the purpose of this blog post, I'm going to do the same.

There are two different kinds of people on the internet when it comes to asking questions. First, there is the type of person that likes to ask questions right away, basking in the glory of fixing something, yet wanting to go through the least possible trouble to get it done. Often they don't even give a full description of what their problem is, as that would involve finding out what is actually happening. These people are often referred to as lazy or ignorant, many a time for good reason. The second group of people obviously contains everyone willing to walk the extra mile to get the answers to their questions, falling back to asking questions only if they really cannot find the answer after questing to find it for hours.

You'd think these people would regulate themselves into a nice working order were it not for the fact that there are some distinctions between people that answer questions as well. I'd like to distinguish three types. The first type of people would like to jump at any opportunity to call the bad question asker a moron, an idiot or whatever his choice of words may be. Of course without pointing them into the right direction, thereby adding nothing to the discussion except for some gunpowder ready to blow. The second type of person would be the overly helpful type; a type I see all too much on GoT. They will go through all lengths to give the asking party an answer that is as complete as possible, often leaving them with some step by step directions or copy/pasteable code. And last, there is the kind of person that will not blindly answer the question that is being asked, answering the question that should have been asked instead. And if not that, they'll at least point out where to get the answers needed to fix the problem instead of just fixing the problem right away. Give a man a fish...

As I was saying, having two types of people that ask questions is no problem. In a perfect world, they'd both get their problems solved, and everyone would be happy. We don't live in a perfect world though. We have people flaming topic starters for being lazy, yet we've also got people feeding that very same laziness by offering that topic starter all the details they'll ever need to fix the problem. The people that are helping others to help themselves are struggling in an everlasting fight to teach people in the lazy category to switch over to the non-lazy category.

Of course the other way around it works as well. If the question asking world was perfect, no one would be asking anything before first trying to find the answer they need themselves. The trolls and overly helpful people would find themselves out of a job and simply bugger off.

Now, to the point of this blog post. Try to decide for yourself which types of question asker and answerer you would file yourself under. You'd make life a lot easier on yourself and others if you would act in the way that is appropriate for the situation. I think it's obvious which boxes I'd like to put myself in. Which ones would fit you?

Volgende: Justice at last 03-'09 Justice at last

Comments


By Tweakers user RobIII, Sunday 15 March 2009 03:27

Which ones would fit you?
Do you even have to ask? :P O-)

Nice blog though ;) d:)b Too bad the first one's a rant :N >:) :+

And yeah, I'm smiley-happy today. Shoot me :+

By Tweakers user NMe, Sunday 15 March 2009 03:39

I can be in a smiley-happy mood and still rant. This blog post is a testament to that. :P

By Tweakers user kroesed, Sunday 15 March 2009 08:48

I think the lazy person asking a question, and the one willing to walk the extra mile before posting are one and the same, the difference lies in the knowledge they have of the site there on.
GOT is a very unusual site on the internet, most sites are less organized, more breezelanguage is accepted and conversations can go on and on, about very simple questions.

1: It mostly depends on whether the question asking person realizes this is Got, or whether he thinks this is just another site.
2: it also has to do with his haste, he finally gets a problem for the little tweaker in him, or he is simply stressed out because he cant play C&C, his body is pumped with an lethal combination of adrenaline and tweakotine, and he forgets to read the faq before posting.

If he gets to post within half an hour, he's a rant, if he can post the next morning on his work he's already walked the extra mile and posts this added information.

Last but not least i appologize for keeping the GOT posters lazy, i know iam partly responsible, but cannot help myself, sorry.

edit: Forsith ,thanks for the link, it was great reading, ; hd4870x2 suuuuuuupertraag help needed"

[Comment edited on Sunday 15 March 2009 12:11]


By Tweakers user Cyphax, Sunday 15 March 2009 11:16

Aaaaand frustration let loose in 3... 2... 1... POST! :+

I wonder if there's more than 2 types of answer-givers tho. Sometimes I answer a question with a tad bit too much detail out of habit (I'm just that nice :+), sometimes I purposely point someone toward the way to succes. The latter is ideal, if the question warrants it anyway.

By Tweakers user Forsith, Sunday 15 March 2009 11:25

Topic starter: second group (I suppose)
Helper: second or third group (Again, I suppose)

I dont post (that much) on GoT, but on other forums I think belong to the groups mentioned above.

Though, on a side note, I think it is sometimes fun to read a topic started by group one, and mostly answered by all groups.
For example; hd4870x2 suuuuuuupertraag help needed

It's just, that de topic starter is
a) not very detailed
b) arrogant
c) (seriously) unpolite

And still people are trying to help him (something I would definetely NOT do). Its so ridiculous and absurd, that I can laugh about it.

By Tweakers user we_are_borg, Sunday 15 March 2009 12:28

@Kroesed
Its all in the eye of the poster and the reader. There no stupid questions but there stupid awnsers, when you read something you can do 3 things.
1. Read and leave for what it is.
2. Read and awnser what is asked
3. Read and then complain in topic that is badly written and to simple to ask.
4. Read and then complain you it must be done without writing in topic

The number 3 is here at tweakers.net more commen than absent. Better choise is 1, 2 and 4. Keeps more offtopic stuff of the board and when you do 2 the forum will get a little boost.

By Tweakers user flippy, Sunday 15 March 2009 12:41

3rd box: ranters. :9

By Tweakers user Roytoch, Sunday 15 March 2009 12:47

I'll have to agree with the blog, but I guess I'm an other type of user: I read a lot, but often I realize that the knowledge to be able to answer the questions (properly) is absent.

The thing that bugs me the most is the rather terrible spelling used by some of the users. The basics of grammar, spelling and punctuation seem to be a concept to difficult to grasp for a whole lot of users. The fact that GoT is not just yet another forum, but a place where (in most sub forums) we should be polite and serious, should emphasize the importance of the basics of the language we use.

By Tweakers user NMe, Sunday 15 March 2009 13:45

I think the lazy person asking a question, and the one willing to walk the extra mile before posting are one and the same, the difference lies in the knowledge they have of the site there on.
I disagree firmly. Which site you're on should not be relevant: people cannot help you if you don't tell them all there is to know. Frustration is a bad thing, but why would you be frustrated if you don't even go through the trouble of trying to fix it for yourself? Why would you move on by posting a question on a forum right away, leaving out most of the relevant info? That is just lazy and downright disrespectful to the people whose help you're asking for: you're expecting them to put more effort into fixing the issue than you've done yourself.

And once again, in a perfect world it would not matter. People would ask the topic starter for more information in a polite manner, then give an answer to the problem. (Which isn't necessarily the same as an answer to the question!)
I'll have to agree with the blog, but I guess I'm an other type of user: I read a lot, but often I realize that the knowledge to be able to answer the questions (properly) is absent.
That doesn't put you in a different box for the categories I mentioned. It simply puts you in a different category altogether: the non-poster. :P
The thing that bugs me the most is the rather terrible spelling used by some of the users.
I'm a purist when it comes to language myself, but I do realize other people might have more trouble grasping some of the finer grammatical rules. Yet, some mistakes are simply easy to avoid and correct by using a browser with a built in spelling checker. The funny thing is that most dyslectic people make better posts than people that just claim to be dyslectic. A dyslectic person will walk that extra mile to make his post look better and actually run it through a spelling checker, the lazy person won't.

By Tweakers user RoadKill21, Sunday 15 March 2009 14:21

I can say I've done all of the above, first being new to it all and asking around first, then learning how to look up things for myself, then learning to also post the things you've already done trying to fix your problem.

It's a learning process, most go through, before they can start returning the favor to other people.

It's also something that has to do with a persons character, their upbringing etcetera.

By Tweakers user Roytoch, Sunday 15 March 2009 14:22

Don't think in boxes ;) In my opinion, just claiming 'I have trouble grasping the rules of grammar etc' is too easy. My little brother, only nine years old, uses punctuation. Why wouldn't a 14-year old be able to use it? It's not that capitalization is the most difficult concept in the world now. Every time I see a post like:

'me computer wrkt nie en kep n swex voerding die rin zitr, maar dr ligt t nie aan weet ik zkr want die heb 540 wat'

I think he's a lazy person for not using a spellchecker of even taking a moment to think 'would the reader get my point'. Even on MSN I hate people who say 'sgool, egt, nie' etcetera. It's just a matter of taking people serious, being mature enough to make a point and walk the extra mile to make it readable. But, to be honest, it is a g'damn shame we call writing decent Dutch 'walking an extra mile'. Of course I'm not talking about dyslectic people now, they indeed at least TRY to use correct grammar etc.

By Tweakers user biomass, Sunday 15 March 2009 21:14

@NMe: I fail to see why you would call this blogpost a rant. I think it's a nice observational piece, calling the reader at the end to think before posting.

[Comment edited on Sunday 15 March 2009 21:19]


By Tweakers user NMe, Sunday 15 March 2009 23:43

@NMe: I fail to see why you would call this blogpost a rant. I think it's a nice observational piece, calling the reader at the end to think before posting.
It turned out a bit more positive than I thought it would be. :P

By Thomas, Monday 16 March 2009 00:07

To me it seems that type 3 is a combination of type 1 and 2.

My parents always taught me that if you are nice to people, people can be nice to you. So flaming them or telling them they are stupid for not asking the right question is not something I would do.

There really are only two types of people. People that have the knowledge, which they should share. And people that are in the need of knowledge. Tweakers.net brings those two together.

Sometimes you offer assistance, sometimes you get assistance.

By Tweakers user NMe, Monday 16 March 2009 00:54

There really are only two types of people. People that have the knowledge, which they should share. And people that are in the need of knowledge. Tweakers.net brings those two together.

Sometimes you offer assistance, sometimes you get assistance.
You really haven't gotten anything I wrote in my post. I suggest you reread it. It's about how helping people in the wrong way doesn't help them at all, and how asking questions in the wrong way will not get you any answers.

By Tweakers user Parabellum, Monday 16 March 2009 06:09

Forum life isn't complicated, but good forums are in the minority. Good rules, faqs and moderators makes or brakes a good forum. But there allways are the new visitors who think they can drop a post and expect a solution in 5 minutes. Myself I have learned to ignore them, simply because they dont search the database if that problem isnt allready solved in another topic.

But lets stay to the facts, how manny people really look into the forum rules ? My point exactly :) And endless debates are annoying, for some that is a life till they get their right on their side.

Forums are constructive and basicly make things easy for users, most of the time. Some allways help others, and ohters just visit for their own problems only. Its not basicly the forum life who might be complicated but the user behid it can make it complicated.

By Tweakers user ReVision, Monday 16 March 2009 10:31

Very nice post, wouldn't call it a rant though it’s more like a general opinion about the behavior on the forum. I don't think people will be offended by this post quickly, although there are always the exceptions like the person in the link that forsith has provided.
Although i think you're post is quite accurate about difference between the question askers and answer givers. It doesn't work that way for everybody, for example me.

I'm not saying im not like any of the groups you’ve mentioned, i myself am like a mixture of all sorts.

When asking a question about something i know lots about and where i like the subject I find myself putting in a lot more effort of finding the answer on my own and making a very detailed opening post filled with points what I’ve already figured out and what I’ve already tried. Because it’s a subject I like, im always eager to learn more and more about it and that’s why I put more effort in it.

But on the other hand, when I have an issue and a question about something that I know nothing about and im not really interested in but I just want the problem solved. It’s easy to just make a quick topic with the questions and barely use any details or put in any effort on my own. Im not saying I’m not trying anything myself, but it’s allot less effort then with the above situation. This can be frustration for the answer givers as well as for me/ or the topic starter who just wants his problem solved and isn’t looking to learn anything about the subject.

As for the other side of the story, as an answer giver you’re answer is quickly influenced by the state of mind you’re in at the moment. When I’m in a happy helping state of mind, I’m not quickly bothered by topics that are just wrong and have to little information and the topic starter is just an arrogant pain in the ass. I just ignore that fact and proceed to helping finding out the problem and the solution even if it’s a stupid question and the answer is right there for the taking.

But when I’m not in a good state of mind and I might be moody or something I find myself giving very different answers to these questions. I find myself only commenting about the bad topic and about the way the topic starter is behaving and not putting in any effort. Even though the question could be answered in just a second, I see myself not doing so because I’m just not in the right state of mind.

So for and i think for more people i'm a combination of all types of answer givers and question askers.

(I'm sorry if there are lots of grammar faults in my english, grammar is not my strong side)

By Tweakers user NMe, Monday 16 March 2009 11:24

But lets stay to the facts, how manny people really look into the forum rules ? My point exactly :)
You know when I started reading forum rules on GoT? When I actually got the responsibility to maintain/update them. None of those rules and guidelines contain anything other than common sense, with the exception of some of the more local rules. All you have to do is think for yourself instead of being selfish and just dumping your question. ;)

By Tweakers user mOrPhie, Monday 16 March 2009 11:49

Thing is, "common sense" is mostly enough when it comes to forum posting. The rules are for those who forget common sense and go beyond the rules. Then a moderator sends a message to the poster, also asking him to read the rules. I know users who didn't read any forum rules posting at all, but are a good member of gathering of tweakers for years now.

By Thomas, Monday 16 March 2009 15:40

I am sorry if I offended you NMe. I don't know why Tweakers.net works for me, but it just does. So I am not asking Tweakers to change what they are doing.

It is just that when I look up a question on google, I often get hits with the question asked, and then unanswered. If I am unlucky it is just a cascade of 'me too' posts with no useful information in them at all.

I am also condemned to help out my family with computer problems. All very normal people with very little knowledge (and interest) in computer topics. Sometimes this is frustrating but then I just take a deep breath, answer the question best I can, and go on doing my own things. This is something that works for me.

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